Assistant Director for Research

617 253-3496


Stefano Brizzolara is Assistant Director for Research at MIT Sea Grant. The expert naval architect and renowned ship designer was the Visiting Peabody Associate Professor at MIT's Mechanical Engineering Department for 2012, during which time he also worked with MIT Sea Grant under Office of Naval Research sponsorship. Brizzolara brings special expertise and valuable experience in the innovative use of computational fluid dynamics, which optimally compliment the strategic goals of MIT Sea Grant. One of Brizzolara's ONR/MIT Sea Grant projects includes the development of a new generation of autonomous surface vehicles with an innovative hull providing superior hydrodynamic performance at sea to serve as the key element in a network of autonomous underwater vehicles for persistent sensing of large ocean areas. Brizzolara is the author of more than 70 scientific papers, presented at international conferences and journals.

Research Focus
The focus of Brizzolara's research is on the intelligent integration and application of CFD tools for the design of innovative unconventional high speed hull forms and propulsion devices. He founded and currently coordinates the Marine CFD Group, a research team devoted to the development, application and validation of CFD methods for Marine hydrodynamics, ranging from BEM, RANSE and SPH methods.

His professional experience includes service in the Italian Navy which included a period spent at the cavitation tunnel of the Italian Navy in Rome; responsibility for experimental research on propellers and hydrofoils; four years in the hydrodynamic design office of Fincantieri Navy Ship Division (Genoa, Italy); designing navy ships, monohull fast ferries (parent hulls to the newest LCS of US Navy) and navy propellers.

Current Research Projects
At Sea Grant, Stefano is refining the design of an autonomous surface vehicle for assistance and maintenance of underwater vehicles. The vehicle will have superior seakeeping qualities (operability in high sea states), and reduced power requirements due to the unconventional SWATH hull form, whose shape is optimized through an automatic parametric hull form procedure for the given design operation profile. The ride qualities of the vessel in irregular sea states will be optimized through a new time domain seakeeping simulation method, currently under development, which considers the effect of different configurations of active fins or gyroscopic stabilizers and true 3D fully viscous estimation of the added mass and damping coefficients.

Other topics Stefano is currently pursuing in collaboration with his group, the Marine CFD Group of the University of Genoa, include the study of a combined numerical and physical model of the hydrodynamic characteristics of a supercavitating surface piercing hydrofoils for very high speed applications (100 knots); development of a "target vessel," a medium size (20m) autonomous surface vessel with dual operating modes (displacement mode at moderate speed an diesel electric propulsion and foilborn mode on four pairs of supercavitating hydrofoils); and ,with the MIT Sea Grant research team, an investigation of the unsteady propulsion characteristics (propeller/hull interaction) of an all electric ship in crash stop and backing/reverse maneuvers, studied by means of a dedicated simulation method integrating numerical hydrodynamic codes and simulation of the electromechanical propulsion chain

Ph.D. in Naval Architecture on Numerical Methods, University of Naples Federico II (joint course with the University of Genoa), 2000
S.M. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering with honors, at the Univ. of Genova, 1994

MIT Sea Grant Publications

Integrated Simulation Framework for Crash Back Operation
Stefano Brizzolara, Pradya Prempraneerach, George Em Karniadakis, Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis
2012, MITSG 12-07
Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Concept design and hydrodynamic optimization of an innovative SWATH USV by CFD methods
Stefano Brizzolara, Thomas B. Curtin, Marco Bovio, Giuliano Vernengo
2012, MITSG 12-54
Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Design of an Unconventional ASV for Underwater Vehicles Recovery: Simulation of the motions for operations in rough seas
Stefano Brizzolara, Chrys Chryssostomidis
2012, MITSG 12-56
Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Hydrodynamic Design of a Family of Hybrid SWATH Unmanned Surface Vehicles
Stefano Brizzolara, Marco Bovio, Alessandro Federici, Giuliano Vernengo
2011, MITSG 11-21
Workshops, proceedings, symposia